Intel Designing Effective Projects : Projects to Engage Learners

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Project Design


Project Design

Project Plan Index

Teaching and Learning Strategies


Example Questioning Techniques

Elaborating, Hypothetical, and Clarification Questions
Socratic Questioning



Learn About Questioning
Questioning is at the heart of good teaching. Choosing the right types of questions to ask learners is necessary to spark thought-provoking answers and engage learners in productive discussions. The teaching strategy of questioning is about asking probing and challenging questions that call for higher cognitive thinking skills such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. By asking challenging questions, we call upon learners to explore ideas and apply new knowledge to other situations.

Using different types of questioning allows learners to think in different and unique ways. At the core of a project-based learning classroom are enduring Focus Questions and higher-level Curriculum-Aligned Questions. These questions are posed at the beginning of a project, and learners continue to explore and revisit these questions throughout. 

Questions that require learners to defend or explain their positions are open-ended questions. Closed questions are limiting and allow for one or two learners to answer either correctly or incorrectly, but they play an important role in building towards and responding to more challenging questions. Open-ended questions are probing and encourage learners to think about several ideas. There isn’t just one correct answer. By posing open-ended questions to a group of learners, the amount of ideas and answers are limitless. Open-ended questions:
  • Tell learners what is valued and what is important
  • Elicit a range of responses
  • Involve teacher and learner communication  
  • Stir discussion and debate in the classroom
Effective questioning involves both teacher and learner. It is important for the teacher to give “wait time” before asking for responses. Wait time is defined as the amount of time that lapses between a teacher-initiated question and the next verbal answer given by a learner. This allows learners the opportunity to reflect and think before they speak. Allowing many learner ideas, rather than just a couple, is imperative as well. All who want to share should have an opportunity to do so. If time does not allow, these learners should have a place to go such as a journal, a learning log, or a whiteboard, to record ideas that can be discussed at a later time.  

Make it Happen in Your Classroom
Effective questioning can be used at all grade levels and with all subjects / learning areas to engage learners in the content being taught. 

Elaborating, Hypothetical, and Clarification Questions >
See examples of different types of questioning techniques that can be used with learners at all levels.

Socratic Questioning >
Read about the Socratic Questioning technique and how to use it in the classroom.